Airfix 1/72 Swordfish I
KIT #: A04053
PRICE: $15.99 SRP  
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


Kit: The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Affectionately known as the "Stringbag" by its crews, it was outdated by 1939, but achieved some spectacular successes during the war, notably the sinking of one and damaging two battleships of the Regia Marina (the Italian Navy) in the Battle of Taranto and the famous crippling of the Bismarck. It was operated primarily as a fleet attack aircraft; however, during its later years, it was also used as an anti-submarine and training craft. Designed in the 1930s, the Swordfish outlived several types intended to replace it, and remained in front line service until VE Day.


As usual, the local hobby shop seems to be the last to get Airfix kit, but the wait was well worth it. Those few panel lines that are extant on this kit are no different than on any new tool Airfix kit so if the larger lines make the kit 'unbuildable', then you will simply have to wait for someone else to do it.

It is evident just from opening the box that this one has a lot of thought put into it. It is rather parts intensive with four box-filling sprues, many of those parts having to do with weapons and their pylons. One of the first things you notice looking at the sprues is that the wings are in sections. This is because Airfix had designed this one with the option to have the wings folded. This is a space saver for some. If you want them extended, there are hefty wing spars to be inserted to allow that. While on the wings, I found it cool that the outer wing struts are a single piece and inserted from under the upper piece of the lower wing. No more worries about keeping the wings aligned. There is sufficient detail in the wing roots to satisfy most modelers if you want to fold the wings. I should point out that Mk.Is did not have metal skinned lower wings, so rockets would not be appropriate for this version. Instead you have a number of bombs and pylons that can be used. There are 'pips' on the underside to correspond with where these bomb racks would be attached if you decide on the torpedo version. If attaching bombs, then one drills through these.

Moving to the fuselage, one notices that this is in three pieces; a lower section that has a lower stub wing root, and the two halves. For the interior you get a well appointed cockpit and gunner/radio operator's position. There is not only a nice separate framework that one puts on either side of the floor section, but framing on the interior. There are also ejector pin marks that will need to be removed as they will be apparent when the kit is built. When attaching the separate upper wing center section, Airfix provides plastic alignment tools to make sure that you get these properly in place. This is a great idea and much appreciated. I have already mentioned the plethora of bombs that can be carried. The torpedo brace is very nicely detailed and one gets a ground handling trolley for the torpedo if one wishes to pose the kit without it.

Markings are for two planes. One is the box art aircraft from 824 squadron during the Toranto raid and is armed with bombs. The other is an all silver version with 820 Squadron in March of 1939, with the more colorful pre-war markings. I am sure that there will be aftermarket sheets to take care of those wanting something different, but the kit decals are nicely done and experience with them has shown them to be quite usable. Once again the instructions are quite concise and use Humbrol paint numbers only during the build stage. It would be a good idea to visit IPMS Stockholm if you wish to use other brands of paint as they have a fine conversion chart for companies who irritatingly only offer paint numbers for their home product.


This is another great kit and at a realistic price. Hornby is on a tear in terms of upgrading some of its older kits in their catalogue and we as modelers are the ones who benefit from it. For those wondering, this is another 'Made in India' product.


February 2012

Thanks to me for this one

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page